Thomas Wolfe Cabin Master Planning Process

Happening Now


Thomas Wolfe CabinIn the summer of 1937, famous Asheville author Thomas Wolfe lived and worked in a cabin off of Azalea Road near Azalea Park. The City now owns the property and has stabilized it from further deterioration and will begin a master planning process for the cabin and surrounding property.

The master planning process is being undertaken as part of an ongoing effort to preserve the cabin, to allow time for the city to explore ideas for an adaptive reuse program consistent with the site’s history.

This is only a planning process, the City has not adopted the plan and allocated future funding for the site at this time. The community can anticipate the following deliverables from this process:


  • Rendered scenario plans and a perspective rendering of the preferred site plan
  • Summary report of findings and plans including an economic analysis
  • Cost estimate for restoration and adaptive reuse

Final Public Meeting


These public meetings will be to present the master plan concepts to the public and solicit input. At the meetings the LAS team will review these two concepts, which they have developed for the Wolfe Cabin site, based on the desired program of uses and the site’s physical characteristics, including the natural environment, accessibility, relationship to surrounding properties, and historic character and ambiance. After this meeting with the City and the public, the concept will be finalized.


Thursday, August 1, 2019
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Recreation Park Conference Room

72 Gashes Creek Road (across from the Nature Center)

Thursday, August 1, 2019
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Thomas Wolfe Memorial

Master Plan Alternative Site Concept One


See Concept One Here.

  • The driveway entrance is relocated to a safer, more visible point on Azalea Road.
  • Limited parking is developed on site, below the top of the hill.
  • The Thomas Wolfe Cabin is restored and preserved; access is carefully managed.
  • A restored “historic woodland” enhances the setting immediately around the Cabin.
  • Public trail connections are added from the Cabin area to other portions of Azalea Park, to the east (pond, dog park) and west.
  • New cabins may be developed to support a “writers’ retreat” facility and other compatible programming.
  • A new Lodge building (flexible use common space) for the retreat occupies the footprint of the existing 1970s cabin, to support the retreat program and other public uses such as meetings or small events.
  • Additional flexible uses are accommodated with an open-air pavilion and tent lawn.
  • The now-vanished tree house that Wolfe visited is reconstructed.
  • Native vegetation creates buffers to neighboring properties.
  • The existing pond is enhanced with improved perimeter trails and woodland re-vegetation.

Master Plan Alternative Site Concept Two


See Concept Two Here.

Concept Two is similar to Concept 1, with the following differences:

  • The new Lodge building (flexible use common space) for the retreat and other public uses is an entirely new building located northwest of the Cabin, on an existing knoll, and is larger than in Alternative 1. The 1970s cabin is removed.
  • The open-air pavilion and tent lawn are located differently than in Alternative 1.
  • The restored “historic woodland” element is larger than in Alternative 1.




The purpose of the project is to develop a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary master plan which will celebrate the literary contributions of Thomas Wolfe to Asheville, better integrate the site into the Asheville park system and the community as a whole, preserve the integrity of the site and guide the restoration or rehabilitation of the site as a living historic landmark of the City of Asheville and Buncombe County. The site was established as a local historic landmark in 1983. It encompasses 38.89 acres.

The project will include a comprehensive assessment of the site including infrastructure improvements, the consideration of additional accessory structures and an assessment of the connectivity of the site to surrounding destinations, trails and the Swannanoa River Greenway. The master plan will also include recommendations for the integration and functional reuse of the city-owned Moyer House adjacent to the Wolfe Cabin and the rebuilding of the tree house present on the site during Thomas Wolfe’s stay in the cabin.




2001 – Property is deeded to the City of Asheville.

2005 – Protective tarp is applied to cabin under guidance of local architect.

Summer 2012 – Existing Conditions Survey and Feasibility Study conducted in partnership with Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County.

2014 – Selective demolition of non-contributing additions to the cabin are undertaken and a temporary EPDM roofing cover in installed.

April 2016 – Additional selective demolition and stabilization in partnership with the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County.

Fall 2017 – Structure is boarded up to deter vandalism. Plan for periodic monitoring is established.

July 2018 – RFQ posted

October 2018 – Consultant selected.

February 2019 – Community Meetings


Wednesday, February 27
5:30 – 7 p.m.
Thomas Wolfe Memorial
52 North Market Street


Thursday, February 28
3 – 4:30 p.m.
Murphy Oakley Community Center
749 Fairview Road


August 2019 – Final public meetings

Fall 2019 – Final master plan completed


Supporting Documents


Thomas Wolfe Cabin Planning Area Map

Thomas Wolfe Cabin Planning Area Map – Aerial view

Existing Conditions Study and Feasibility Study

Staff report to Planning & Economic Development Committee – December 10, 2018

Request for Proposals

Lord Aeck Sargent response to RFP

Community Meeting Flyer

Cabin Site Concept #1

Cabin Site Concept #2


Contact Information


Stacy Merten, Director of Historic Resources